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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

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A further great problem of the mid-twentieth century
—the fundamental general problem of our time—is
connected with the ones akeady mentioned. It springs
from the fact that over a great portion of the world
there exists what we might call a defect of civilisation
which makes democpratic^government as we understand
it an impossibility. Over a considerable part of the
European continent a serious collapse of civilisation
has® actually taken place; and it is this that concerns us
more intimately. It is necessary to stop imagining it
as 3 collapse of civilisation which may take place in
certain circumstances—it is one which is akeady with
us. In this sense the Dark Ages have actually returned,
and if so far we have been spared in this country, we
must remember that in France and Italy the danger has
been very serious indeed. The collapse has occurred
primarily in those countries where government and
society have broken down as a result of war, invasion
and defeat; and even phenomena such as Nazism,
Fascism and Communism are not really the cause of the
breakdown, but rather the result—it is blindness to
ignore die fact that they take their effective rise from
the war of 1914. The first serious victim of this process
was Russia in 1917, Russia even before any revolution
had occurred. It was not Communism that broke
down the society and the structure and the culture of
the old Russia, but the catastrophe of war itself. Since
1917 it has been demonstrated in one country after
another that revolutions of the modern kind—Com-
munism, Fascism, National Socialism, etc.—arise out
of the elements of disintegration and demoralisation